Friday May 12, 2017

May 11, 2017 episode transcript

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The AIH Transcript for May 11, 2017

Hosts: Carol Off and Jeff Douglas

STORIES FROM THIS EPISODE

Prologue

CAROL OFF: Hello, I'm Carol Off.

Jeff Douglas: Good evening. I'm Jeff Douglas. This is As It Happens.

[Music: Theme]

JD: Tonight:

CO: The end and the beginning of the end? When U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly fires the FBI Director, a former agent is chilled. Because he believes it will have a chilling effect on the agency's Russia investigation.

JD: Alternative vax. After anti-vaccine activists target Somali Americans in Minnesota, the community is hit by an outbreak of measles. A disease that was declared to have been eradicated in North America.

CO: even when his shift is over, he's still in prison. I'll speak with the Canadian corrections officer who says PTSD is rampant among his colleagues. But it's hard to get the help they need.

JD: Her approach was an actual approach. A Calgary woman's partner died of a fentanyl overdose last year. So when she saw a flyer complaining about an addiction centre, she asked the anonymous author out for a coffee.

CO: Snap election. A man running for local office in a Pennsylvania township smells a rat and is sick and tired of having his signs stolen. And now, he's trying to catch one by setting up a giant rat trap for thieving humans.

JD: And… as inventions go, it's pretty trippy, and totally un-trippy. Scientists developed a wearable device they're calling a “stumble suit”, which prevents you from taking a spill. Wiping out your chances of wiping out your chances of wiping out. As It Happens, the Thursday edition. Radio that's part of a long-standing tradition.

[Music: Theme]

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Part 1: Former FBI critic on Comey firing, Corrections PTSD, election sign trap

Former FBI critic on Comey firing

Guest: Michael Tabman

Today, President Donald Trump directly contradicted what the White House said yesterday saying that he had planned to oust FBI Director James Comey no matter what.

SOUNDCLIP

DONALD TRUMP: He's a showboat. He's a grandstander. The FBI has been in turmoil. You know that. I know that. Everybody knows that. You take a look at the FBI a year ago; it was in virtual turmoil — less than a year ago. It hasn't recovered from that.

LESTER HOLT: Monday you met with the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

DT: Right.

LH: Did you ask for recommendation?

DT: What I did is I was going to fire Comey. It was my decision.

LH: You had made the decision before they came in the room.

DT: I was going to fire Comey. There's no good time to do it by the way.

LH: Because in the letter you say I accepted their recommendations. You had already made the decision?

DT: I was going to fire regardless of recommendation. He made a recommendation. He's highly respected. Very good guy, very smart guy. The Democrats like him. The Republicans like him. He made a recommendation, but regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey.

JD: That was President Donald Trump speaking with NBC's Lester Holt earlier today. Meanwhile, the new Acting Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, was before the Senate Intelligence Committee today. He insisted that, despite Mr. Comey’s firing, the Russia inquiry will continue unhindered. He also contradicted the President's assertion that Mr. Comey had lost the confidence of rank and file FBI agents. Michael Tabman was one of those agents for 24 years. We reached Mr. Tabman in Kansas City, Missouri.

CO: Mr. Tabman, what message do you think the firing of James Comey sends to the FBI?

MICHAEL TABMAN: I think it was a warning shot to not get too close to this Russia investigation in any way that may implicate the President. That doesn't mean it will necessarily be successful, but I believe that was the attempt.

CO: And what did you think when you heard of the firing?

MT: It was chilling and it was troubling. First is the manner in which it was given — the firing — he finds out about it while he is in a field office talking to agents and the media. This is done in the most humiliating and disrespectful way. That shows a personal animus behind this dismissal. And then of course, it comes at a time when the Russian investigation supposedly, because I don't have inside information, supposedly is heating up. It looks like an abuse of power and it's certainly reasonably perceived that way.

CO: Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is speaking on behalf of the White House, says she has spoken with quote, “countless FBI people of the rank and file.” And she says she found them supportive of this decision to fire Mr. Comey. What do you make of that?

MT: Well I don't make much of it. First of all this is an administration from the president through to his minions who will say anything to support their narrative. Things are said that cannot be substantiated. The Deputy Director spoke today — the Acting Director — said that is not true. I just do not believe that agents would reach out to Sarah Huckabee Sanders. And irrespective of that, every director you have an agency of 12,000 to 15,000 agents and support people. You are going to have a segment of agents who do not like you. Who do not like the director and agents who do support the director and management. That is not the criteria as to whether or not the director should be dismissed.

CO: But there were so many comments made by people very unhappy about how Mr. Comey handled the file of Hillary Clinton and the emails and the comments he made publicly. Things of that nature that must have shaken the faith FBI people had in Mr. Comey? I was one of those people who was critical of the way Director Comey handled the Clinton emails. However, candidate Trump applauded many things Comey did that you know hurt Hillary Clinton. He had adequate time as President-elect Trump to meet with his team and decide if this director should stay on. That was his prerogative. He made a public statement that he was maintaining Comey as the director. The time to make that decision has passed. To say now, almost a year after this happened, that he's dismissing the director because of that incident lacks credibility.

CO: At the same time what we've heard from the Acting Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, that the inquiry will go on business as usual. That nothing has changed, this is a removal of the director for whatever reasons. And that it doesn't affect the actual investigation of the connections between Russia and the Trump campaign. What do you think of that?

MT: I think he is speaking from the heart. I believe that's certainly true in the sense that the FBI agents and even the deputy director, career agents and the civil service are not appointed by the president they cannot be summarily dismissed by the president. However, there is a chilling effect when this takes place, and especially in this administration. If a new director is perceived to be you know another minion of the president and everything flows downhill from the president to the attorney general to a director who doesn't have the will to see this thing through. It can be derailed not overtly. No not quite obvious to everyone watching. Resources would be detracted. Information could be filtered. And let's not forget that in this system, the FBI does not prosecute. The Department of Justice prosecutes. So you have to get all this information from the FBI to the approval of DOJ to bring this forth to a prosecution. So this still has a lot of work to go through the political machine before it sees the light of day. If there is evidence that requires prosecution. I don't know that there is, but hopefully if we have a director in there who has got some tenacity and courage and some independence, we could see this thing through. And hopefully if there is a prosecution to be had, it will make it through the Department of Justice.

CO: Is it possible that something like this then can this kind of an investigation it doesn't go out with a bang because that with a whimper. I mean you don't find out there's some giant effort to stop it, but you just you sort of let the air out of the balloon slowly and it drifts away. It doesn't become anything because nobody wants it to lose the will as you say.

MT: Right, that's what I was saying before depending on the leadership here. If you have a director in there then there's many ways he could have that happen in a very low-key way. Not overtly stopping, but it filtering information that goes to the Department of Justice. Redirecting resources and just not give it the adequate attention. It could happen. It doesn't mean it wouldn't go unnoticed. It doesn't mean there may not be leaks out of the FBI to notify people of that. But where are you going to go? The chain of command leads right up to the president.

CO: What will you be watching for is to determine whether there is a chill? Whether there is the will to do this? What are the signs that you as an insider in the FBI knowing how it works will be watching for?

MT: well partially, I’ll look to see who is selected as the next director and whether he or she is someone perceived as independent. But that's only a partial story because you just don't know what goes on behind closed doors. And then we'll have to see how the case progresses. I understand subpoenas went out, so we’ll have to see how many returns of those subpoenas come through. And then of course, we’ll have to hear from the Department of Justice or the FBI themselves if they ever speak in front of Congress in an open hearing to hear why the case went a certain direction. If it appears that there's strong evidence that's not being prosecuted or followed through I think there'll be leaks that the media will get hold of and we'll hear it through the backdoor.

CO: But you're describing an FBI you said had great integrity. These are people who are rock solid. But this is not any investigation. Not only is it investigation is tied to the president, but he has made it very clear that he's extremely unhappy with even the mention of this. People who are close to the White House say that he erupts even when it's discussed on television. How difficult is it for people in the FBI to be able to conduct this investigation?

MT: I think they want to move forward and I think they will. But we cannot be naive to the fact that FBI agents are just people. And you know in the FBI we've always known that if one day you find yourself on the wrong side of someone in power you could have a very miserable career. So I think if there's a real chill in the air and if it's coming from a director's office that he is not happy with the progress on this investigation irrespective of which way it's going it'll make people nervous. And I think they can't create an atmosphere in which agents will be hesitant to move forward aggressively. I don't know that that will happen and I hope it doesn't. But is certainly something we must consider.

CO: Mr. Tabman, thank you.

MT: Thank you.

JD: Michael Tabman is a former FBI agent. We reached him in Kansas City, Missouri.

[Music: Ambient]

Corrections PTSD

Guest: Guy LeBlanc

JD: Canadian corrections officers are suffering in silence. A CBC News investigation has revealed that one in 20 employees at federal prisons has been diagnosed with PTSD, or other stress injuries. That is since 2011. The union representing workers says the actual number is likely much higher. The highest rates of PTSD are at Dorchester Penitentiary in New Brunswick. Guy LeBlanc is a corrections officer at Dorchester. He recently returned to work after a long leave of absence with PTSD. We reached Mr. LeBlanc in New Brunswick.

CO: Mr. LeBlanc, can you tell us about the moment when you realized that you might be suffering from PTSD?

GUY LEBLANC: It was a gradual thing that happened over time. I knew something was wrong, but I refused to accept. At the time, I was feeling too much pride and I was refusing to accept that I had PTSD. But when I realized that something was wrong was when basically I had no more emotions and no more drive. I was basically just existing every day and that was it.

CO: What are the kinds of incidents that you encountered in the prison system that you believe may have led to this trauma?

GL: I've dealt with several inmates that have committed suicide. I witnessed violent assaults on inmates and on officers. I've had my life threatened and I've also twice been part of a situation where the inmate had rioted, or the whole institution’s security was in jeopardy actually.

CO: And what understanding is there or is there not within the institution? Because that sounds extremely stressful, so what awareness is there that this might actually have some lasting effect on people?

GL: Well it is starting to get better. But when I first started, there was almost no awareness to it. And also there is a culture amongst the officers themselves that we sometimes want to show that we're macho and we're tough and that it's not going to affect us. And before I was diagnosed I was the worst one. That's why I never went for help. That's why it lasted eight years for me before I asked for help because I had too much pride.

CO: When you were suffering. When you were realizing that you were having all these feelings of anger, but also feeling no sensitivity, how did it affect your own life outside of the prison?

GL: I was really withdrawn. You know I wasn't going out to any social activities I was just basically harmonizing myself at home. I associated with very few people. And then also I fell into alcoholism too that I had to overcome.

CO: Do you have a family?

GL: Yes. I have a common-law of 13 years and a step-son. He's 16 years old. And it was very difficult on us. It was very challenging. And we’re continually working on it. And you know it’s still challenging.

CO: At what point did you hit the place where you knew you had to go and get help?

GL: Well, you just get to a point where it's like you've been hit by a wall. And your mind and your body aren’t letting you do anything. You're just numb and paralyzed. Basically you're either taking your life or you're asking for help.

CO: So you thought you needed help and how hard was it to find help from Corrections Canada?

GL: Well, from Corrections Canada, before I hit that wall, I had asked for help through the EAP Assistance Program. I thought there was all a bit of short comings there because the only offer that I received there was basically a 1-800 number and then somebody who referred me to a social worker. And unfortunately, the severity of my condition or my injury was missed at that point. And then it continued on until I was at my rock bottom. And then I was and then I received help from from outside of CSC.

CO: Why did you have to go outside the Corrections Canada in order to get that help?

GL: I had already attempted help through CSC, so then I just went to a private doctor and told them that I needed help.

CO: What you are describing, the kinds of stress that you and the other guards are living with. You'd think that there would be awareness. There would be programs. There would be an understanding. This is this is not 20-years ago when we didn't think much about PTSD. There's a pretty high level of awareness of that. Did it surprise you to find that there was just so little support for you to turn to?

GL: Well, I think for correctional officers, we're kind of behind the scenes. Nobody sees us and a lot of times we feel like when it comes to decision making, there's not enough importance assigned to us based on the fact that most people that you ask on the street what does a corrections officer do in a day? They wouldn’t be able to answer you. Do you understand what I mean?

CO: Yeah, I think I do.

GL: Were like kind of the forgotten officers.

CO: Have you gotten the help you need at this point?

GL: Yes I have. Actually I have a tremendous mental health team that supports me. Professional and peer-based and I’ve returned to full duty so far.

CO: And how's that? Are you feeling in control?

GL: I am feeling in control. It is an adjustment because I went from not being at work to now working 12 hours a day. So there's a little bit of adjustment there. You know there's one day that I felt just too tired due to you know not being used to doing 12 hours and I had to go home. So I do know myself enough to not push myself more than what I can take right now.

CO: And your family must be happy to know that?

GL: Yes. Yes. My family is very supportive and very happy of me.

CO: Mr. LeBlanc, I really appreciate speaking with you. Thank you.

GL: Well, thank you very much and I appreciate you calling. Have a nice day.

JD: Guy LeBlanc is a corrections officer at Dorchester Penitentiary in New Brunswick.

[Music: Cultural]

Election sign trap

Guest: Joseph Kowalchick

JD: This is not the first story we've done on election campaign lawn-sign theft or vandalism. But it is perhaps the oddest. Joseph Kowalchick is running for local office in Norwegian Township, Pennsylvania. When his lawn-signs began disappearing, he took matters into his own hands. In an effort to stop the thieves, Mr. Kowalchick set up a trap. Literally. An actual, enormous rat trap. We reached Joe Kowalchick in Seltzer, Pennsylvania.

CO: Joseph, I've just seen photos of your big rat trap. But for those who haven't, can you describe it?

JOSEPH KOWALCHICK: Yes, it's about seven feet long. It’s made out of two-by-sixes, two-inch steel pipe and I also have coil springs from the front end of a car on it.

CO: And I mean in all respects it looks like a rat trap except it's ginormous.

JK: Yes, and it doesn't work. It doesn't function.

CO: Well, it looks like it works.

JK: It looks just like a trap. Yes.

CO: How did you get your hands on such a thing?

JK: Actually myself and a friend made it.

CO: And why did you make it?

JK: We have a big problem of political yard-signs being stolen. One candidate actually out of 50 signs he's down at 10. Myself, I had 16 actually in one night stolen. So I thought I'm losing out on advertisement. How could I turn that negative into a positive and I created this trap to get some publicity.

CO: And where have you put the lawn-sign?

JK: I have a lawn-sign on it right where the where you put the bait on a trap.

CO: And so is it just a message? Or do you think people might actually suspect that if they took that sign they'd be snapped?

JK: No, once you get close to it you could tell that it's welded that it's not going to do anything.

CO: Well if everyone knows it just is not going to do anything what’s to prevent it from being stolen?

JK: It weighs roughly 250-275 pounds.

CO: OK, that would do it. And it's welded to it, so there's no way you can take that lawn-sign without the trap?

JK: Right. It's actually too heavy. It won't even fit in the back of a pickup. You'd have a hard time putting it into a pickup anyhow.

CO: But you might be tempting someone. I mean it would be quite the collector's item.

JK: once in a while, first thing in the morning, I look out to see if it’s gone. It did cross my mind. So far it's still here.

CO: But you might have set up a challenge because people are always looking. OK. This is a bit more difficult, but I think I can pull this off right.

JK: I will let something out of the bag here: I put a stake in the ground. I hammered in a three foot stake into the ground and there's a chain connected to the bottom of it. So I guess I let that out of the bag. Nobody is going to steal it.

CO: Well you've thought of everything then.

JK: It's a bad problem and it's a bad problem that happens everywhere in the U.S. and even in Canada I'm sure they have the same problem.

CO: Everybody who is running a campaign has talked about having not just their signs stolen, but defaced and all kinds of things. So it's a common problem. But has it been successful? I mean what about your other signs? Do you have a giant human trap on every single one of them?

JK: No I don't, but the sign problem being stolen as of right now kind of stopped in my township here.

CO: Really? Why do you think that's the case?

JK: I guess it's brought to light now. Also a local television station did an interview here with me and they interviewed our district attorney. And she actually explained what the laws are and that you could face jail time, or up to $2,500 fine. That was one of my main reasons of making this rattrap is to educate the public on the laws.

CO: I understand that from one of the interviews on that television news piece that the only candidates who say their signs are being stolen in Norwegian Township are Republicans.

JK: Right. There's actually three out of four Republicans who have had their yard-signs stolen.

CO: And no Democrats?

JK: No Democrats and three out of four Republicans, so I guess that's a coincidence.

CO: Why do you think that's the case? Any theories?

JK: No. Nothing that could be proven, but I guess it's just a coincidence.

CO: What is the position that you are writing for in Norwegian Township?

JK: Township supervisor.

CO: Why do you want this job?

JK: Well I'm disabled and I have a lot of time on my hands, so I figured how could I use this time that I have for a good cause? And I thought since I help out senior citizens in my small, little town. I can help out the disabled in my small, little town. Even though I'm disabled I'm not as bad as say the next person. So that's why I thought instead of just helping out the few now if I become supervisor I can actually start helping the whole town out.

CO: And you think you have a chance to do that?

JK: Hopefully if not life goes on. No big deal.

CO: All right. Joseph, I just wish you best of luck in your campaign. I hope you don’t get anymore signs stolen. It's great to talk to you. Thank you.

JK: OK. Thank you.

CO: Take care.

JK: You too.

JD: Joseph Kowalchick is running for local office in Norwegian Township, Pennsylvania. We reached him in Seltzer. And you can see some photographs of Mr. Kowalchick and his big rat trap on our website: www.cbc.ca/aih

[Music: Pop]

Washington Post clarification

JD: Tuesday night, when U.S. President Donald Trump just suddenly fired FBI Director James Comey his staff was left in the dark as to how to answer reporters’ questions or in the bushes or among the bushes. In an article published yesterday in The Washington Post, journalist Jenna Johnson described the confusion that night. She wrote that Mr. Spicer's seemed unprepared to explain the exact reason why the president had sacked Mr. comey. The administration itself seemed to think there would be no questions, nor curiosity at all about it. And when there was a lot of both, Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders were quickly sent out to do interviews. Ms. Conway spoke to CNN and Ms. Sanders spoke to FOX News from the network's sets on the White House grounds. But the press secretary himself was apparently still not quite ready to address the press. So he tried to stay inconspicuous. Ms. Johnson's article says that after an interview with Fox Business Channel on an unrelated subject Mr. Spicer quote, “disappeared into the shadows huddling with his staff near a clump of bushes and then behind a tall hedge.” Quote, “After Spicer sent spent several minutes hidden in the bushes near these sets. Janet Montesi, an executive assistant in the press office, emerged and told reporters that Spicer would answer some questions as long as he was not filmed doing so.” Unquote. Now obviously, that sounds completely absurd. And it was. Today, The Post issued a correction that made the story much less ludicrous. It reads in its entirety quote, “Editor's Note: this story has been updated to more precisely describe White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s location late Tuesday night. In the minutes before he briefed reporters. Spicer huddled with his staff among Bush's near television sets on the White House grounds not in the bushes as the story originally stated.” Unquote.

Back To Top »

Part 2: Measles outbreak, stumble suit

Measles outbreak

Guest: Siman Nuurali

JD: The Somali-American community in Minnesota used to have a very high rate of vaccination against measles. In fact, in the early 2000s, the number of kids who had received the MMR vaccine, that's Measles, Mumps and Rubella was as high as 92 per cent. That was higher than the state average. Today though that rate is less than half of that, and now that same community has been hit by the worst measles outbreak in nearly 30 years. Less than a year ago, the World Health Organization declared that measles had been eradicated in the Americas. Siman Nuurali is a Somali-American clinician with Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. We reached her in Minneapolis.

CO: Ms. Nuurrali, why do you think that so many Somali-American children in Minnesota were not vaccinated for measles?

SIMAN NUURRALI: Yes. So we've actually had quite a high rate of vaccinations for Somali children just in general. But several years ago, that did start to taper specifically for the MMR vaccine. And this was a direct result of anti-vaccine groups coming into the state and talking to the community and made that connection that the MMR vaccine causes autism, which obviously is a myth that has been widely debunked by the medical and scientific community.

CO: MMR is the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine. Where did that come from — that information?

SN: That information came from anti-vaccine groups. Originally Dr. Wakefield I believe has been here several times — three times — I believe actually in the last several years. And then just other different anti-vaccine groups based in the state and also outside the state.

CO: We’ll give some people some background in this. Andrew Wakefield is a man who is considered to be the person who started the anti-vaccine movement. And for those who don't know the other background. He was a man he wrote a study about 20-years ago linking the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine with autism. And that study has been widely debunked. He lost his medical license, but he is still campaigning to get people not to be vaccinated. Why do you think his message in that community was so effective?

SN: It was effective because of the spike in the autism rates in the Somali community. And how that started off actually was that they were finding that a higher number of Somali children than usual done in any other community were enrolled in autism services in the school system. The University of Minnesota did a study along with other researchers and it found that the rates of autism were actually comparable in the Somali community with white children. The only difference seemed to be that there was a higher incidence of intellectual disability along with the disorder in the Somali children. And so with Somali families seeing concrete evidence of their children being autistic and these anti-vaccine groups coming in and saying the reason your children are autistic is because you gave them the MMR vaccine. It became unfortunately a highly effective message.

CO: Now you've had a major outbreak of measles. Can you tell us about that?

SN: We've had about I believe we're up to 50 cases now or 51 total cases rather.

CO: And how serious are these cases of measles?

SN: They are quite serious. Fortunately we haven't had any deaths so far. We've taken care of about 35 children of those 50 cases here at Children's Minnesota. About 15 of them need to be admitted to the hospital for you know I.V. therapy and supportive therapy and for the doctors to keep an eye on them just while they ride out the virus.

CO: I know you have been talking with the parents of the of the Somali kids who are sick. And what are you hearing from them?

SN: Well you know, they're sort of in a very, very difficult position. They have children who are autistic, but now they are also dealing with the outbreak. I'm glad to report that we've had incredible success in having parents come in and vaccinate their children, even parents who have not been affected by the outbreak. And so we are having families being more receptive to having their children vaccinated to prevent the measles.

CO: And are they telling you that they regret having listened to Andrew Wakefield and having responded to his message?

SN: Absolutely. Especially for the parents who have had children end up in the hospital you know needing I.V. therapy, needing oxygen needing supportive therapy and care in the hospital for those parents absolutely. They're of a different mind now and are actually committed you know once they're able to write out their difficulties to God and to the community and say listen we've experienced this and we need you to listen to us. And we want you to vaccinate your kids so that we can make sure this doesn't happen again.

CO: Are there those who don't agree with your message? That don't think you're right?

SN: Yes. And for the most part, those are the parents who would have never listened to us anyway. Who are so entrenched in the idea that the MMR vaccine causes autism that we are never going to be able to make headway outbreak or no outbreak.

CO: How are you able to convince the ones who did come to agree with you and have their children vaccinated?

SN: You know prior to the outbreak, if we said you know the MMR is to prevent measles we are talking about an abstract concept. We're talking about something that's in the future that may happen or that may not happen. But for them, they had concrete evidence of children who had autism and so it was easier to turn down the vaccine. But now that we're in the outbreak, they are acknowledging, they understand that this is something that can happen at any time. And once it happens that their children would be at higher risk. The other thing that you know we've tried to do is of course to personalize the issue, myself being a Somali, I'm also a mom, I have children, I have vaccinated my children and so just sharing those stories. And even just sitting with them and listening to them empathizing with the difficulty of their choices. That has been really helpful and you know we've made some gains in the last several weeks.

CO: How do you feel that to your own community — the Somali community — was targeted in this way by Andrew Wakefield?

SN: You know it's incredibly tragic and heartbreaking because, at the end of the day, Andrew Wakefield gets to go home and not have to take care of any child that has measles. We're the ones that have to care for these families. We’re the ones that somehow have to explain to those families that yes, we know you turned down the MMR vaccine and you know now your child has measles. But you know it's OK, we're still in a hospital. We're still going to care for you. And so it must be a very easy thing for him. It's not so much when we're seeing families who are you know are having incredibly sick children. You know it's a very difficult thing. It's a very difficult thing to have to come to every day.

CO: And yet, Mr. Wakefield has said I don't feel responsible at all for this outbreak. What do you say to him?

SN: Absolutely. And you know I believe the first part of that quote was that the Somali people were already there. And I just provided them information. The Somali people were not there prior to him having this conversation. All they knew was that there are you know their children were getting autism, but they absolutely had not made any connection to what may be causing it. And he definitely you know was the matchstick that started that fire. And now we're dealing with the consequences of his actions.

CO: Ms. Nuurrali appreciate speaking with you thank you. Thank you so much.

JD: Siman Nuurali is a Somali-American clinician with Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. The Somali community in Minnesota has been hit by a measles outbreak after being targeted by an anti-vaccine campaign.

[Music: Guitar]

New Jersey town hall

JD: There were a lot of protesters chanting and holding up posters. Some of them were laying on the ground with signs cut into the shape of tombstones. And that was just outside the building. Yesterday, Republican Congressman Tom McArthur held a town hall meeting in his state of New Jersey. Hundreds of people attended the event. It went on for around five hours. And for much of that time, Mr. MacArthur was heckled, he was interrupted and repeatedly criticized. Among other things, people wanted answers from their congressmen about the Obamacare replacement bill, which was passed by House Republicans last week. Congressman McArthur played a key role in putting together the amendment to that bill, which has to do with coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Well, a man named Geoff Ginter spoke at the town hall. A couple of minutes into his speech, the congressman asked what his question was? Here is how Mr. Ginter responded.

SOUNDCLIP

GEOFF GINTER: Oh, we haven't even begun. I’m not done with you yet. I got the mic and I'm not going anywhere. Turn out the power; I've got a very loud voice. This ain't over yet. My wife was diagnosed with cancer when she was 40-years-old. She beat it, but every day, every day, she lives with it. She thinks about it. Every pain, every new something going on somewhere is it coming back? Is this cancer? Do I have it again? Is it going to kill me this time? It's going to take me away from my children? Speaking of which, my children both have pre-existing conditions from birth. One cardiac, one thyroid. You have been the single greatest threat to my family in the entire world. You are the reason I stay up at night. You are the reason that I can't sleep. What happens if I lose my job? I'm very fortunate sir, I have a really good job and I have really good health insurance and we can all have peace of mind. But now my wife, who every day, is wondering if she is going to get cancer? Is it happening now? It didn't happen now, but what about now? Also has to contend with what if my husband loses his job?

GG: If I lose my job we can't afford COBRA. We can't afford to get private insurance. We get it from my employer. If I lose it, it's gone.

JD: Recorded by ABC News, that was a man by the name of Geoff Ginter, from Pine Beach, New Jersey, speaking yesterday at Congressman Tom MacArthur's town hall meeting.

[Music: Ambient]

Stumble suit

Guest: Silvestro Micera

JD: We all have our clumsy moments. They happen. We slip, we wipe, out sometimes we even trip over our own two feet. When you're young it's embarrassing, but when you're older recovering from those accidents isn't easy. So scientists in Italy and Switzerland have come up with a solution. They have developed a robotic suit that can prevent someone from falling over, and help restore balance. Silvestro Micera is a biomedical engineering professor at Sant’ Anna School of Advanced Studies. We reached him in Florence.

CO: Professor Micera, what inspired you to develop a suit that could keep people from falling down?

SILVESTRO MICERA: The first of course idea came to me because falling is really an important problem for old people. Even if they don't have any important neurological problems. Their neuromuscular system becomes modified by the aging process the more they become prone to fall. Not all of them, but it's quite common. So there is strong clinical need. At the same time, the idea is that the seniors are still able to walk. But they're not able to react in a fast way and with enough with strong reaction to possible falling events.

CO: And they lose confidence don't they?

SM: Yes. Yes. That's really a big problem. The main idea is that you don't need to provide them all the force and the torque they need to because they can do something by themselves. So the idea is to provide a bit extra delta force, which can be used only when necessary to help them.

CO: What does a suit actually look like? Can you describe the device?

SM: The device is kind of motorized and sensorized belt you put around your hip. The system has sensors, which can then be used for understanding how the walking is doing. And the motors can provide the counteracting torque to reduce falling probability.

CO: Maybe just in layman's terms can you describe for us what it does?

SM: The device does two things: try to understand when there is a falling event or when there is an important change in locomotion behavior. Or something is happening to your walking behavior. And when there is this detection, provide some force at the hip, which is then used by the person together with the natural reaction to avoid falling or to improve the balance recovery.

CO: And does it work?

SM: It works. I mean at least of course we have not 200 patients. We have just eight seniors and two of similar amputees. But yes, the results are very promising. And the good thing is that all these patients enjoyed using it.

CO: You've described it as an exoskeleton and then it kind of wraps around the body. How do your seniors feel when they're wearing it?

SM: When they're wearing it the system is transparent to them. So they're really minimizing the incumbency. So they feel something, but it's not really disturbing. And it works only when it is necessary. So this is also important because I mean if you have senior people and if you even want to think in 10 or 15 years from now to them using really the device. The device is to be not bulky. Not avoiding any kind of problems for them and usable only when it's necessary.

CO: But I saw the video and saw people testing and it does look fairly bulky. Are you going to reduce the size of it?

SM: I mean the very thing is that the system you saw in the video was wire-connected to the computer. The new version is already completely wireless, so all the buttons are inside. We reduced to about 20 per cent of the way from five to four kilograms. The idea is that we can do more because the device is still a general purpose device. So in that sense, what I'm expecting is that it will be lighter and smaller.

CO: Would you have any concern that someone who is using this regularly would become dependent on it. That they would begin to rely on it? In fact, that their own internal mechanisms for finding their balance are keeping it might actually start to not work as well because this thing is actually torqueing for them?

SM: That is exactly the idea. If you’re not providing all the help you are forcing people as much as possible to use their own skills. But the idea is if you provide just a small amount of help, enough to reduce falling probability, you are relying also mainly or the ability of the users to do by themselves.

CO: You know I think that most people know somebody or maybe they are somebody who has the feeling that we talked about. The fear of falling and how limiting it is to your lifestyle. So can you see this someday being used quite commonly that many people will have this kind of a device in order to restore their balance?

SM: Of course, we are still at the level of the proof of concept. So we need to spend more time understanding whether this idea works in more complex real life situations. We need to make it lighter and smaller to make it more usable. But in principle, yes it could be. I mean at seniors sometimes use a cane to help walking while not using a special belt in specific cases. Of course, this is probably only when people are really prone to fall. But if we show that we can generalize the results to more real life conditions and make the system lighter and simpler than probably could be usable yes.

CO: it's quite fascinating. Professor Michera, and I appreciate speaking with you. Thank you.

SM: Thanks for your interest.

JD: That was Silvestro Michera, a biomedical engineering prof at Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies. We reached him in Florence, Italy.

[Music: Ambient]

Creepy tenant house

JD: If you are a realtor, you get used to many dumb questions. You get asked a lot of dumb questions. Is there a kitchen? Is there indoor plumbing? Just the outhouse? How much does it cost? I mean come on! Just read the listing, right? Well you know who's fed up with this constant questioning from what would be buyers? The realtor who is trying to sell the property at 709 Michaelmas Avenue in Cayce, South Carolina. Now the original listing described this house as a quote, “diamond in the rough”, which actually means it's a quote, “cubic zirconium in the toilet”, right? Which means that it's made of rotting duck decoys and parts of it may be on fire, but if you are familiar with real estate ads you will have no problem interpreting that code. The same cannot be said for the warning in the middle of the ad. Now it is clear from this warning that the realtor is just not going to put up with your nonsense. If you so much as clear your throat to ask what you feel is an urgently pertinent question. You will get such an eye roll. Just in case you're wondering though, here is what you should not wonder. Quote, “Upstairs apartment cannot be shown under any circumstances. Buyer assumes responsibility for the month-to-month tenancy in the upstairs apartment. Occupant has never paid and no security deposit is being held. But there is a lease in place. Yes it does not make sense, please don't bother asking.” Unqoute. Now incidentally, I did not add that part about it not making sense and not asking. That is actually in the ad. It's like Jane Eyre, except that if everyone spent the whole book ignoring Rochester's wife thumping around in the attic, which is implausible. And so is this listing, which by the way, has since been removed

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Part 3: Addiction centre neighbours, Iran Canada election

From Our Archives: Manitoba student attack

JD: It was their last day as an intern. It was also her worst day as an intern. Jackie Healey was working at a rehab's facility in Selkirk, Manitoba last May, when she and another worker were attacked by teenagers living there. Ms. Healey was beaten with a baseball bat and pool balls stuffed in a sock. Now, one of three teenagers who pleaded guilty for his role in that attack has been sentenced. He will spend 20 months in jail followed by 10 months of community supervision. He is 17-years-old and cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Jackie Healey was a guest on this program last May 31st. That was just days after she was attacked. She told Carol what happened to her.

SOUNDCLIP

CO: Jackie, how are you feeling?

JACKIE HEALEY: right now, I’m not feeling that great. I'm recovering, but I can’t see out of one of my eyes at all. When the doctors opened up my eyelid I still can't see. They're not sure if I'm going to get my eyesight or not. That's one of the things that is really scaring me.

CO: I'm so sorry.

JH: Yeah. Another thing to is that while I was getting beaten with the bat, they cracked one skull in many different spots. So there a lot of fluid and blood that is around my brain and in my head. That's scaring me as well.

CO: Are you in a lot of pain?

JH: I was, But I woke up this morning and you know it was so bad. The pain was just like I couldn’t handle it. It took a while for the medication to kick in.

CO: What can you remember of what happened?

JH: I really don't remember the beating. I don't know why? I think when they came up behind me that they knocked me out as soon as they hit me.

CO: What do you make of how the Red River Community College has dealt with this?

JH: I’m a little taken back by it honestly. I don't know why these boys did this to me. I didn't do anything to them. I thought I had a good relationship with them. I just I just I'm so confused and I don't know.

CO: Two boys have been taken in by police. What would you do to think of that?

JH: I have mixed emotions because I did know and spend time with them. And I really wouldn’t even have seen this coming. I really thought that they were going to stay out of trouble. It’s sad, but I'm just glad that people know where they are. I don't know why they would do this honestly? I haven't done anything to them. I’d like to know why they did it.

JD: That was Jackie Healey speaking on As It Happens last May. On the last day of her internship, Ms. Healey was beaten by teenagers who were living at the rehab facility she was working in. Yesterday, one of those teenagers was given a 30 month sentence.

[Music: Ambient]

Addiction centre neighbours

Guest: Rosalind Davis

JD: In a quiet residential neighborhood of Calgary, a proposal for an addiction treatment centre is not exactly being welcomed with open arms. There was a town hall meeting last night, where many residents just vehemently opposed the idea. And then there were flyers that showed up in mailboxes last week, written by an anonymous resident condemning the proposal. Rosalind Davis's partner died of a fentanyl overdose last year. So when she read that flyer, it hit hard. And it prompted Ms. Davis to track down that anonymous letter writer and talk over a cup of coffee. We reached Roslyn Davis in Golden, British Columbia.

CO: Rosalind, what did this flyer say?

ROSALIND DAVIS: Well, this flyer was alerting the neighborhood that a proposal for an addiction treatment centre would be going into play. And it talked about how the neighborhood wouldn't want this because this would potentially bring dangerous individuals into the community and devalue property.

CO: And that was in caps that she the person — the author — of this wrote: “PROTECT OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD. WOULD DEVALUE PROPERTIES AND ALLOW POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS INDIVIDUALS INTO OUR QUIET, FAMILY_FREINDLY NEIGHBOURHOOD.”

RD: Yes. Bold, capitals and underlined.

CO: You saw this flyer when you were visiting your parents, who live in the Windsor Park neighborhood. How did that make you feel when you read it?

RD: You know it really did hurt. I lost my partner to a fentanyl overdose last year. And I found the language incredibly hurtful. It really does perpetuate the stigma and stigma causes people to suffer in silence. You have no idea who you might be hurting. You know for all you know it can be your best friend. And that shame and turn could really prevent someone from seeking help. So it really hit close to home.

CO: Can you tell me a bit about your partner?

RD: Nathan, you know he was a wonderful man. He was intelligent and successful and kind and funny. He you know he was a lot of things. You know Nathan was a great man, who suffered with an addiction.

CO And fentanyl was the drug that he was addicted to?

RD: Correct. It started with a prescription to Percocet though. He injured his back in assisting a contractor carry a washing machine. And that began our journey into the addiction healthcare services. He was put on a referral for an outpatient program and that was a four month wait. So during that time, his addiction went from basically manageable to a full-blown addiction to elicit fentanyl. As he no longer had access to the prescription drugs.

CO: It's just extraordinary how it can snowball so quickly from an injury?

RD: It was incredibly quick. I watched him just become a complete fragment of himself. It was heartbreaking to watch.

CO: The author of this “Protect our Neighborhood” flyer. What do you think that he or she failed to understand about the people who would be using such a centre?

RD: She failed to understand that these are people in our neighborhood already. Substance use disorder impacts everybody in society. And I think she failed to realize how shameful that is for someone.

CO: And so after you read this flyer you didn't throw it out. You had obviously you wanted to say something. You wrote a Facebook post where you addressed the writer of this letter. What did you say in that?

RD: Basically just it is such hurtful language. You don't know who you're impacting or who you might be hurting. And that while I'm so much like the people in the neighborhood who don't suffer from substance use disorders, I'm also someone who has loved someone who's had a substance use disorder. And you know stumbled through the system and, essentially at the end of the day, we failed and Nathan lost his life.

CO: I just have the Facebook post that you put out, which is just so beautifully written. And you point out to the flyer author you said I also know of a man in your neighborhood whose beautiful, blue-eyed daughter died last year and four children whose parents died who overdose at Christmas. So you know you surely made all of them feel unwelcome. The tone in your Facebook posting is patient. You could have been very angry, but you're trying to explain something in this way. How did you decide the way you would try to address this author of the flier?

RD: Well, I don't think we get anywhere when we call each other names. And I think as a society, we need to start accepting that there is always going to be people who develop substance use disorders. And or the society we have a choice. We can keep doing what we were doing or we can look at the alternatives. And ultimately, someone engaged in treatment costs society far less than someone who isn't. And our continuing community will be safer from everyone's perspective if perhaps we all practice a little bit more compassion.

CO: At the end of your Facebook post you invite the author of this flier to have a cup of coffee with you. What came of that?

RD: You know it was a lovely evening. You know she is a very lovely woman and she admitted that her language was not appropriate and told me it was just it came from a place of fear. A knee-jerk reaction to a topic that she's not familiar with. And so she allowed me the opportunity to tell my story and to tell her about how my perspective has changed over time from first discovering when Nathan was abusing pills till after his death. And she was very open and willing and then we began to be able to look at you know whether or not a facility made sense in her neighborhood from a really objective, evidence-based perspective.

CO: Why do you think she agreed to your invitation for a cup of coffee?

RD: I'm not entirely too sure. I think she could have easily remained anonymous. And I think that it does show that she has immense character to reach out and apologize. So I have to commend her.

CO: Did you change her mind?

RD: You know she still has her concerns. I do think that I perhaps showed her a lot more of the topic than she was familiar with. I think her mind is definitely open.

CO: So last night, there was a packed meeting about this proposal in this neighborhood. And you're traveling, but you're I understand your parents were at that meeting, is that right?

RD: My mother attended, yes.

CO: What kinds of reactions did you hear from your mother about the proposal?

RD: She described the meeting as mostly negative. I believe one woman said that she wouldn't walk past the house anymore and wouldn’t her children walked past the house. Snd I do think we can debate the validity of a treatment centre without demeaning those who might attend. And those sort of comments really do dehumanize people. In terms of the safety of the patrons who might attend this facility, a lot has to be considered. And I think after last night's town hall, they might not feel that it's a very welcoming neighborhood for them.

CO: Rosalind, I really appreciate speaking with you. Thank you.

RD: Thank you so much.

CO: Take care.

RD: Take care.

JD: Rosalind Davis is from Calgary. Today though, we reached her in Golden, British Columbia.

Creepy tenant house follow-up

JD: Now, a quick and important update to a story we told you about earlier in the program. As in nine minutes ago. That story regarding a dilapidated property in South Carolina currently up for sale. The photos are not inspiring. The listing itself: very frightening. Quote, “Upstairs apartment cannot be shown under any circumstances. Occupant has never paid and no security deposit is being held. But there is a lease in place. Yes it does not make sense, please don't bother asking.” Unquote. That listing has since been taken down, but not before a lot of people did bother asking including the local TV station. WIS-TV discovered that the upstairs apartment is occupied by a 70-year-old artist by the name of Randall McKissick. He says the owner of the property let him move in because he was having some financial trouble. He apparently has no intention of moving out, but he used the interview to reassure any potential buyers in a way that's not entirely reassuring. Quote, “I'm easy to get along with. I'm upstairs. They would be downstairs. The only thing that would be a problem is my heavy footsteps.” Unqoute

[Music: Suspenseful]

Ottawa flag

JD: This morning, anti-abortion activists in Ottawa gathered at City Hall to raise a flag. The flag read “National March for Life” and marked their annual rally, which was held today on Parliament Hill. The flag raising ceremony went largely unnoticed at first, but it wasn't long before residents, and city councillors, did notice. And then there was a huge outcry. By mid-afternoon noon, the city's Mayor Jim Watson tweeted quote, “I am pleased to report that the anti-abortion flag has been taken down. I have asked staff for a complete review of the city's flag policy.” Unquote. Catherine McKenney is an Ottawa city councillor and she demanded that the flag be taken down. Here's part of what she said. CBC Ottawa reporter Laurie Fagan today.

SOUNDCLIP

CATHERINE MCKENNEY: It was disbelief and shock. Immediately I knew that it had to come down. The policy is clear that individual convictions are not what we proclaim. And pro-life is an individual conviction. You know you have every right to that expression, but not in the public sphere and not in the public space. Women have a constitutional right to safe abortion and safe health care that includes abortion. And we cannot in any way as public office holders, as your city hall, in the public space and the public sphere give you any other message except that we are here to uphold all bylaws, all laws and your constitutional rights.

LAURIE FAGAN: Just a few moments ago, as you were walking out, the flag came down. What was going through your mind then?

CM: I was very happy to see it come down. I have to say as a woman, as a career woman, as a parent, it was very difficult to be in this building today with that flag flying outside.

JD: Ottawa City Councillor Catherine McKenny speaking to CBC Ottawa reporter Laurie Fagan earlier today.

[Music: Ambient]

Iran Canadian election

Guest: Bijan Ahmadi

JD: This week, officials of the Canadian government went somewhere that they had not been in five years. And that was Tehran. Canada and Iran severed ties in 2012, and they closed their embassies. Since then, Iranians in Canada have had no access to consular services. They cannot review or renew passports rather, they can't get travel documents and this is especially important right now: they cannot vote. The Iranian presidential election is just days away. But Ottawa denied Tehran's request for polling stations in Canada. This is frustrating as you can imagine for thousands of potential voters. Bijan Ahmadi is the president of the Iranian-Canadian Congress. We reached him in Toronto

CO: Mr. Ahmadi, for you and others, why is it important to be able to exercise that right to vote?

BIJAN AHMADI: Because it's their citizen rights. It's correct that they live here in Canada. However, they want to be able to exercise their right to vote and be a decision maker and hopefully make a positive influence in the overall decision at the presidential election that's happening in Iran.

CO: And now, in the past, you have been able to vote in elections in Iran from Canada. What is the problem now? Why is it not possible for you in Canada to be able to cast your ballot?

BA: The last Iranian presidential election was conducted in Canada was back in 2009. It was only possible for Iranians in Canada to vote at the Iranian embassy that at that time was open in Ottawa. And during that 2009 election, I believe that over 3,000 people went to Ottawa. Now considering that travel is not very easy many people that west coast it was not possible for them to travel to Ottawa. But 3,000 people went there and voted. Now about your question, unfortunately in 2012, Canada and Iran under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided to cut diplomatic relations with Iran. He closed the Canadian embassy in Tehran, Iran and expelled all Iranian diplomats against all international norms. He expelled all Iranian diplomats from Canada. Unfortunately, since that time, Iranian Canadians overall have faced many difficulties in terms of access to consular services. And this is also another service that the consular office or embassy would be able to provide for Iranians who were interested to participate in an election. However, right now, because there is no embassy or consular office, they cannot exercise their rights to vote in the election.

CO: But I mean isn't there any other way that they can provide that here in Canada? Have you been in contact with those in Ottawa to say look, I mean this is this is evolving and it's not it's not our fault that there are no diplomatic relations between the two countries. We want to exercise our franchise. Is there nothing else that Ottawa would do in order to make it possible for you?

BA: Our understanding is that the government of Canada has implemented a policy since 2008 that any foreign country, and it's not specifically about Iran, any foreign country that wants to conduct elections in Canada has to be under diplomatic mission, diplomatic office whether embassy or consulate and they do not allow the elections of foreign countries to happen outside of these offices. Our hope was that because Canada and Iran both countries are talking and they have the intention to re-establish relations. We wished that there would be a kind of an exception. So during either in the consulate of a third country or in a public venue this could be allowed.

CO: Well, the United States doesn't have diplomatic relations with Iran either. So are Iranians in the U.S. able to cast a vote?

BA: Yes, and that's a very interesting point that we also tried to highlight and communicate with Global Affairs Canada here as well. That Iran and United States do not have diplomatic relations as well. However, there is an interest office for Iran in Washington, D.C. in the Pakistani embassy. So not only that office provides basically conduct elections and provides voting stations in Washington D.C. But also they organize voting stations in multiple cities across the United States. We are a bit disappointed that exception wasn’t provided and that Canada is not accommodating this request. However, we are looking at this issue as a community and also as the Iranian Canadian Congress, who are looking at this as a long term issue. And we want Canada and Iran to re-establish diplomatic relations at the first opportunity. And given that there is this Canadian representative from Global Affairs Canada this week. In Iran, we hope that the relations are going to be re-established very soon.

CO: But at the same time, you are encouraged by signs that the Liberal government in Canada might re-establish those connections. But we are also saying the Liberal government mirror dancing with the United States on foreign policy. They are very concerned about not being out of step perhaps with the Trump administration. We know that Mr. Trump is very hard-liner when it comes to Iran. Is it possible that Canada might be reluctant to follow through because they dont want to upset the applecart with Mr. Trump?

BA: President Trump should not define our foreign policy. our government of Prime Minister Trudeau made a promise, not only about Iran-Canada relations, but overall to change Canada's foreign policy approach. And Iran-Canada relations are one part of that. And that’s why we hope Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Freeland to continue to basically follow through with their promise and to reengage with Iran as part of that change that we as Canadians expect from our government in our foreign policy approach from the time of Prime Minister Harper.

CO: All right. We will be watching Mr. Ahmadi. Thank you.

BA: Thank you so much for having me.

JD: Bijan Ahmadi is the president of the Iranian-Canadian Congress. We reached him in Toronto.

[Music: Ambient]

Shark warning

JD: It's a beautiful spring day in California. You're taking advantage of it by paddleboarding in the calm Pacific waters off of Orange County. Then you hear this.

SOUNDCLIP

SPEAKER: protection in the water. Protection in the water.

JD: That gets your attention. You look up from your paddleboard to see a helicopter hovering above disconcerting. But that's nothing compared to what comes next.

SOUNDCLIP

SPEAKER: This is the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Be advised State Parks is asking us to make an announcement to let you know you are paddleboarding next to approximately 15 great white sharks. They’re advising that you exit the water in a calm manner. The sharks are as close as the surfline. Thank you for your cooperation.

JD: Gulp. That was from a helicopter video released by the Orange County Sheriff's Department yesterday. Luckily all the paddle boarders managed to scramble out of the water without being attacked.

[Music: Cultural]

Michael Parks obit

SOUNDCLIP

MICHAEL PARKS: Before you came here, Twin Peak was a simple place. Suddenly the simple dream become the nightmare. So if you die maybe you will be the last to die. Maybe you brought the nightmare with you.And maybe the nightmare will die with you.

JD: If you're a fan of Twin Peaks you will recognize that as the voice of the villainous French-Canadian drug runner Jean Renaud played in the original TV series by actor Michael Parks. Michael Parks died yesterday. He was 77-years-old. Mr. Parks was already a veteran actor by the time he turned in that memorable performance. In his 20s, He played Adam in the 1966 John Houston epic “The Bible in the Beginning”. And with his star performance in the TV series “Then Came Bronson” from 1969 to 70, he not only cemented his acting cred, but he showcased his singing chops as well. Delivering the show's theme song. Long Lonesome Highway reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and established Mr. Parks as a bonafide country singer. As for the big screen, some of his most memorable roles would come post “Peaks”. Beginning with his portrayal of Texas Ranger Earl McGraw in the 1996 cult favorite”From Dusk Till Dawn.” Written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Robert Rodriguez. He reprised that role both in turn Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” series and in the subsequent Tarantino, Rodriguez collaboration “Grindhouse”. Quentin Tarantino's love for Mr. Parks’s character range is perhaps most evident in the sequel to “Kill Bill”, where Michael Parks does double duty as both Ranger McGraw and an aging Mexican pimp named Esteban Vihaio. He was also a favorite of director Kevin Smith, who says he became instantly enamored with Michael Parks after watching him steal the opening scene in “From Dusk Till Dawn”. Mr Smith would later cast him as the feature villains in two of his horror films: “Red State” and “Tusk”. In announcing Michael Parks's death on social media, Mr Smith described him as the quote, “Yoda of acting”, and he wrote. “Michael was and will likely forever remain the best actor I've ever known. And Parks brought out the absolute best in me every time he got near my set.” Unquote.

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